Enter Your Destination
Trumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19 )
You shall make a menorah of pure gold, hammered out shall the menorah be made. (Ex. 25:31)
God commanded Moshe to make a menorah by fashioning it out of a single bar of gold. Moshe could not visualize the menorah, and so God showed him a vision of a menorah of fire. However, Moshe still found it difficult to make. God then told him to throw the bar of gold into the fire, give it one blow with the hammer, and a finished menorah would emerge! Moshe threw the gold into the fire, hit it with the hammer and prayed to Hashem. Immediately, the complete menorah emerged from the fire. There is an obvious difficulty with this: if God knew that Moshe was not going to be able to actually make the menorah by himself, why did He show him the heavenly vision first?
When you get into your car and you turn on the G.P.S. the first instruction is: ENTER YOUR DESTINATION. In order to get anywhere in life, you need to have a goal; a vision of where you are heading. You have to first know what you want, before it can happen. Similarly, you can't pray and expect heavenly assistance if you don't have a clear vision of what you are looking for. Therefore, God had to show Moshe a vision of what he was supposed to accomplish, and only then could Moshe pray for heavenly assistance in the making of the menorah.1
The Alter of Kelm explains how righteous people of previous generations became such great people. It was because they knew the power of setting goals, and had visions of what they aspired to reach. The evil inclination is able to persuade someone to sin by placing immoral fantasies in his mind. The only way to fight him is by using his own weapon against him – one needs to use the imagination to envision greatness.2 A person can learn mussar but still retain his flaws. In order to really change, one needs to envision the great person he would like to be. When the great sage Rebbe Akiva Eiger was asked how he became who he was, he replied that he strove to become like the Rashba (a great Rabbi who lived hundreds of years before him), and therefore he was able to become Rebbe Eiger. A person should always aim higher – shoot for the sky, for if you fall you will land amongst the stars!
- Sfas Emes.
- Michtav M'Eliyahu IV, pg. 252.